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Well I’m new to all this Blogging malarkey but I guess I should start with an introduction! I am Donna, Mummy to my beautiful Little Pickle (LP) born 28th August 2011. The last 7 months have been trying, but have also been the best of my life. I am loving being a mother but in all honesty it isn’t a walk in the park – some days are knackering, some are tedious and some I just feel like crying! But most days are rewarding at least in a small part and the whole journey that LP and I are making is one huge learning curve!
LP was born 3 days late at home. We had planned a home birth and it all went incredibly well, 12 hours of labour, gas and air, a birthing pool in the lounge and no stitches! I was very, very lucky and LP was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I had been adamant that I was having a boy, and adamant that he’d be at least 9lb… I ended up with a girl, 6lb 4oz of ginger perfection!
The next two weeks are now a blur of painful breastfeeding. LP took the top layer of skin off my nipples on day 1. It then took the next 2 weeks for me to heal and so every feed was painful. Sometimes I’d grit my teeth and curl my toes. Other times I’d cry. Other times I’d pull away and not look at her as she latched. I have never experienced anything like it.
I think the worst thing for me was that no-one had said that it might be hard, no-one had said anything other than it’s the most natural thing in the world. This made the pain so unexpected! It felt like there’d be no end to it and that it would hurt forever. Everyone kept saying to me that if it hurt I wasn’t doing it right, that the latch must be wrong. But everything was fine, the problem was that the damage had already been done and it needed time to heal.
A good friend said to me ‘Give it two weeks, after that it will get better’ and thankfully it did! Lots of Lansinoh and airing of my boobs and 2 weeks later it didn’t hurt any more. After another couple of weeks it actually felt nice and I started to enjoy breastfeeding! We are now 7 months in to our breastfeeding journey and I love it. I cannot imagine formula feeding LP and am so glad I persevered through the pain. She’s never had a bottle, and now, if I have to go out and leave her with her Daddy, she takes expressed milk through a Nuby sippy cup with a silicone spout. However, night feeds and her bed time feed she won’t take from the sippy cup, only from me. This is a work in progress! I will keep you updated!
LP has never self settled and still needs us to rock her to sleep. In the early days she’d feed to sleep but that is rare now. For the first 8 weeks she didn’t go to sleep until at least 1am, quite often 4am and one awful night 6am. But it gradually got better! 7 months in and she now goes to bed sometime between 6:30pm and 7pm. However, she still wakes regularly for feeds, but again this is getting better. Generally she will wake 4 hourly, but last night she woke every 5 hours. I am finding that with everything Baby related there is light at the end of the tunnel!
I don’t know where the first 6 months went. They literally flew by! After Christmas we started looking into weaning options and heard about Baby Led Weaning. We bought Gill Rapley’s book and read up about it. LP was still only 4 months and we knew that we wanted to start weaning at 6 months – we didn’t see any reason to start earlier as she’d always been petite and not a particularly hungry baby!
We invested in a bumbo – the princely sum of £12.20 from eBay including the Bumbo tray, and this was LP’s new ‘toy’! She would sit in it on the kitchen worktop whilst I cooked and she’d sit in it on the middle of the dining table every time Dave and I ate. We eventually gave her a spoon – a Petit Filous spoon that had come through the post, and a sippy cup – Tommy Tippee, and she’d play with them whilst she watched us eat. The spoon went in straight away and she’d gnaw at it, The sippy cup also went in but holding the handles took a little while to learn.
By the time we started weaning at 6 months, LP had mastered the art of getting everything and anything into her mouth! So we invested in a high chair – Antilop from Ikea, a bargain at less than £15, wipe clean, removable tray. LP proved to be too small for the high chair for the first couple of weeks, she could sit up very straight with support but the high chair was just too big. So we used the Bumbo. LP loved weaning from the start! I decided to embrace the mess and her first taste was blackberries… Oh the mess! There was blackberry juice everywhere – the table, Bumbo and Baby were covered. But she made the most pleasing nom nom noises! Blackberries were a hit! We had decided to let her eat in just her nappy as we hadn’t managed to find any decent bibs yet, and this proved to be a wise move! Pickle was covered in sticky juice! Luckily, bath time followed!
I have since made sure that the messiest foods are at dinner time, so that bath time follows. We have also been using a pillow to pad out the high chair and she now associates the high chair with food and gets excited as soon as you put her in it! We’ve also invested in floor mats from Poundland – Polythene sheets with dancing hippos on that go under the high chair. We keep this super clean so that any food that goes on it we know that we can pass back to LP. There’s enough waste with Baby Led Weaning (BLW) that anything to minimise it has got to be a good thing! We’ve also bought a lot of basic velcro bibs and also jersey plastic backed bibs with arms from Tesco. We use one of each at each meal time, small one under the big one, and this way LP’s clothes survive for a little bit longer!
We are now 5 weeks into our BLW journey and LP has tried so many foods! Fruit – Blackberries, Banana, Kiwi, Peach, Nectarine, Orange, Pineapple, Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Apple, Pear. Veg – Tomato, Cucumber, Pepper, Avocado, Potato, Sweet Potato, Parsnip, Carrot, broccoli, Cauliflower, Beetroot. She’s also had Bread, Pitta, Wraps, Bagels, Rice Cakes, Scotch Pancakes, Mature Cheddar, Cheese Spread, Plain Yoghurt, Boiled Egg, Scrambled Egg, Omelette, Tuna, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Curry, Fajita, Sweet and Sour… Literally everything we eat we now let LP try. The only things we keep an eye on is no honey until she’s over a year as there’s a risk of botulism and we watch the salt/sugar content of everything. We have started making salt free bread in our bread maker and had intended to slice and freeze it so that we could take a slice out at a time for LP, but we all quite like the salt free bread so are all eating it! She also loved scotch pancakes, but the shop bought ones had 0.3g salt in each one! Baby is only allowed 1g salt max per day, so I have made batches of my own pancakes with raisins, raspberries and summer fruits in and have frozen them so that I can take them out for LP whenever I need them.
BLW has had a great impact on all our lives so far – LP is getting a very varied diet, and trying a lot of different foods but also Dave and I are getting a much better diet from doing BLW. We make sure that the food we have is suitable for LP and so everything is cooked from scratch – processed food is now minimal and we are eating a lot more fruit and veg. The whole family has definitely embraced BLW!